More than 450 bands performed during annual event



photo courtesy Annelise Noronha


Wendy McNeil performs at Six Shooter Records’ second annual Back Lot BBQ on Saturday.


The 2007 North By Northeast festival rolled into town over weekend bringing with it three days of music, film and schmooze.

With more than 450 artists performing in 30 clubs it is virtually impossible to attend every show. However, some of the musical highlights of the last few days include:


Before Mother Mother was even half-way through its set the line outside The Boat was long and some festival attendees were clearly irritated. Montreal’s Les Breastfeeders promptly took to blowing the portholes off the place with a distinctly French brand of hyper-rock. The small dance floor really started to shake after front man Luc Brien cleared away a flock of photographers parked at the front of the stage.

A little later on, local rap hero Abdominal, promoting his latest solo album, served up some funk-filled beats before Quebec electro-dance outfit Champion delivered a high-energy show.

While most of the city’s clubs were closing their doors early Friday, the members of Blue Rodeo were just getting ready to hit the stage at Lee’s Palace.

The band appeared shortly after 3 a.m. and served up a 55-minute performance for the soused but boisterous crowd.


Down at the Holiday Inn on King Street, Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis — sporting his brand-spanking new silver and purple Dino Jr. sneakers — talked about his new album, his favourite TV shows, and played a duet of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind with 102.1’s Dave Bookman.

In the evening, Key Witness started things off at the Silver Dollar with an enjoyable dose of folk-math rock. Imagine Do, Make, Say, Think backing up Elvis Costello — then add a scruffy violin player — and you’ll have an idea of what this band is all about. Action Makes then delivered a set that was a dark update of the Stooges.

A few doors down the street, the El Mocambo was filling up. Some of those assembled were waiting to see if the hype surrounding The Pinker Tones was justified. Midway thought the set the silly Spanish DJ team, that bounce around the stage like Devo on speed, had the crowd moving and shaking.

However, it was the Silver Dollar that was really buzzing on this night as hoards of rock fans wiggled and squeezed their way in to see Nordic rock gods The Soundtrack Of Our Lives. The Swedes put on an awe-inspiring display of rock-manship, blissfully jamming into the wee hours of the night.

Many in the crowd later moved over to the new home of Magnificent Seven Records for a festival after-party. New York garage psych rockers The Vandelles played unit 5 a.m. in one of the group’s three performances at the festival.


The Six Shooter Records Back Lot BBQ, in only its second year, is quickly becoming a NXNE tradition.

Those who attended this family-friendly event were treated to veggie burgers and hotdogs and an afternoon of free music from the likes of Justin Rutledge, NQ Arbuckle, Royal Wood and the enchanting Wendy McNeil. Serena Ryder and Ron Sexsmith were among the many guests in attendance.

Later that evening The Boat was rocking again as Terror Lake kicked off the night with a killer set of searing guitars and jarring vocals from drummer Wendy Fowler.

Over at the El Mocambo, Montreal rockabilly sensation Bloodshoot Bill shook the assembled crowd with his greasy six string antics while Oh Bijou, Sebastien Grainger (formerly of

Death From Above 1979) and You say Party! We Say Die! turned the volume up at the Horseshoe Tavern.

Finally, over at the Silver Dollar No Dynamics were busy deconstructing all notions of audio propriety with a blazing set of punk and soul music.